Apps are an important part of our day to day life now as they make our lives much easier and we are so dependent on some of the apps that life becomes difficult without having them installed on our phones. But there are certain apps that are just as dangerous as they seem entertaining and useful. These carry malware disguised as anything from gaming apps to beauty, photo utility apps, and we often fall prey to them and end up installing invariably.
Of late, there have been several reports of malicious apps or malware apps as they are commonly known, infiltrating into Google and Apple's respective application download platforms. Although Android and iOS take the users' security and privacy concerns very seriously and filter such apps on a regular basis, some of them manage to sneak into the Google Play Store and Apple App Store, and many of these malware carrying apps are downloaded onto millions of devices worldwide before their removal.
Here are some of the malware apps that were discovered recently and subsequently removed from Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
Malware apps in the Google Play Store:
ai.type keyboard app
Since inception, Google's Play Store has removed thousands of malware apps, improving security and privacy systems, including Google Play Protect, but the most recently discovered malware app on Google's Play Store, ai.type keyboard helps scammers steal money from users by subscribing them to premium services without their consent. The app has since been dropped from the Play Store but has already made 14 million unauthorized transaction requests, as per data from researchers at mobile technology firm Upstream. The app subscribes users to premium services and makes them pay for these services. Although removed from Play Store, it is still available for download on various third-party app stores for Android devices.
Another malicious Android app discovered recently, Xhelper works by displaying ads and facilitating downloads of other malicious apps. The app has so far affected over 45,000 devices in just a few months. The malicious app keeps displaying pop-up ads on the affected device. It has been playing hide and seek and is very difficult to locate on the system launcher. What's worse is that the app keeps reinstalling itself even after being uninstalled.
Fashion Hairstyle Pic Editor and Photo Editor Background Pro
One the most recent ones that were discovered, and which had more than 2.1 million downloads were discovered by Symantec as 25 Android Package Kits (APKs) hiding as a photo utility app called Fashion Hairstyle Pic Editor and Photo Editor Background Pro. These apps were published under 22 different developer accounts, making it tricky for users and Google's advanced Play Security system to recognize them.
Kissing Game - Touch Her Heart
This recently discovered malware app had infected more than 25 million Android phones. The extent of this is due to the fact that the app hid in other apps such as WhatsApp, one of the most widely downloaded ones of all time. The malware dubbed Agent Smith replaced the installed WhatsApp application with a malicious version that served malicious ads which worked on a pay-per-click system, leading the hackers with access to the user's vital information. The app wasn't available for download directly from Play Store but through third-party app store 9apps.com which is owned by Alibaba Group. The most affected smartphones were found in India with as many as 15 million users fell prey, according to Israeli security company, Check Point.
Malware Apps in Apple App Store:
Apple's App Store, despite its strict publishing policies and regulations, is still prone to malicious app sneaking in. Point being, Apple very recently removed 17 apps from the App Store which were found to be infected with malware. Some of the recently discovered malware apps on App Store which you might want to uninstall immediately are:
- RTO Vehicle Information
- EMI Calculator & Loan Planner
- File Manager - Documents
- Smart GPS Speedometer
- CrickOne - Live Cricket Scores
- Daily Fitness - Yoga Posses
- FM Radio PRO - Internet Radio
- My Train Infor - IRCTC & PNR
- Around Me Place Finder
- Easy Contacts Backup Manager
- Ramadan Times 2019 Pro
- Restaurant Finder - Find Food
- BMT Calculator PRO - BMR Calc
- Dual Accounts Pro
- Video Editor - Mute Video
- Islamic World Pro - Qibla
- Smart Video Compressor
The above apps were discovered by mobile security company Wandera and were published by a developer called AppAspect Technologies. These apps carried a clicker trojan module which is designed to carry out fraudulent tasks in the background such as opening web pages and clicking links without any user interaction, according to Wandera's report. They carry the clicker trojan and allow the scammers to generate revenue through the pay-per-click system by inflating the website traffic.